What's the best piece of advice your mom ever gave you?
Of course, she gave me the "don't put up with abuse or cheating" advice and the "travel and finish school before settling down" advice, but in terms of something else incredibly practical that got me through more of a "day-to-day" situation (versus a Mega-Life Situation), this was golden to me: When I was 16 and working at my first job, my intermediate supervisor was a terror. She was a schoolyard bully with a Big Deal Job. She harangued me relentlessly. My mother told me to tell her the following, and not only did it work great, but I've used it in many other situations in life to much success: The next time the manager needled me, I said, "Name of Manager, I would like to come away from this meeting understanding what you'd like me to do, but I'm so distracted by HOW you're talking to me, I can't hear WHAT you're saying. If you'd like me to focus on the WHAT, you'll have to adjust the HOW." Shut her right up, and she never again bullied me. She wanted to continue to be mean, but she couldn't get around my (mom's) argument that she was being impractical. It was less about her understanding she was mean and more about her realizing her approach was "wrong" for the goal. So, it was still about her, but...either way, I stuck with that job for a year. For a teenager, that's a feat! Meanwhile, over the decades of working, I've had to occasionally haul that one back out, and it works every, single time. There's something very disarming about pointing out someone's meanness in a way that forecloses a rebuttal, as in, "Look, we both see this. So, please adjust accordingly." It's very different from, "You're mean!" It's, "BECAUSE YOU'RE MEAN (so don't try to debate that point since we now both know), I'm struggling." Subtle but powerful difference. In 35 years in the workforce, it's worked virtually every time. Thanks, Mom!